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How to Send a Package: International

Learn how to send packages from the U.S. to other countries, whether you:

  • Bring your package to a Post Office location.
  • Create and print your own customs form, which saves a lot of time.
  • Use Click-N-Ship® service for everything: Buy postage, print labels and customs forms, and even schedule a pickup.

For sending letters under 3.5 oz and large envelopes under 15.994 oz to other countries, see How to Send a Letter: International.

As of March 1, 2023, packages sent to countries that follow European Union (EU) customs rules need more-detailed content descriptions for customs forms. Learn what you need to do.

Send International Packages: Step-by-Step Instructions

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Before You Start:

Things You'll Need

  • The full name of the person or company you're sending the item to and their full international address.
  • A comprehensive list of things you're sending and their value (for the customs form). Example: Put "men's cotton shirts," not "clothing."
  • A printer if you're printing your customs form. (You can save a lot of time by using our Customs Form Online tool to fill out your own form, print it out, and bring it with your package to the Post Office to pay for postage and ship your package.)
  • Packaging materials (like boxes, padding, and tape).

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You Should Know

Sending packages to other countries is different from sending packages inside the U.S.:

  • Tracking: Depending on how and where you ship, you may not get the same level of tracking information you're used to for U.S. packages.
  • Rules: There are more rules, laws, and regulations that you must follow (from USPS, the U.S., and the destination country), and you are responsible for following all of them.
  • Things You Can't Send: There are more things you can't send in international packages, and each country has its own rules about what it'll allow in inbound packages.
  • Customs Forms: When you send merchandise (anything that's not correspondence or documents), it must have a customs form that's computer-generated (not handwritten) by approved USPS software that electronically sends the customs form data to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). If you have a handwritten customs form, you'll need to give it to a retail associate at a USPS location and they'll make a computer-generated customs form for you.
  • Consequences: You'll want to be very careful, detailed, and accurate. If you make mistakes, your package could be delayed, subject to extra import fees, or even rejected, confiscated, or destroyed by the receiving country.

Step 1: Where, What, & How Much Can You Send?

Find the country you’re sending the package to in the International Mail Manual’s Individual Country Listings for:

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First, check the International Service Disruptions page and make sure USPS is accepting packages going to your destination country.

What Can I Send?

  1. See International Shipping Restrictions for general guidance on items you can’t send (prohibited) and items you can send under certain conditions (restricted).
  2. Also see additional guidance in USPS Publication 52, Hazardous, Restricted, and Perishable Mail.
  3. Lastly, each country has its own rules on what it will and won’t allow: Find your destination country in the Individual Country Listings (which will show you other important information like weight limits and price groups).

How Much Can I Send? (Size & Weight Limits)

Different USPS international package services have different maximum weight limits and then destination countries may have lower limits. There are also limits around the type of things you can send to certain destinations (like just printed material or correspondence) and limits on monetary value (for example, things you send using First-Class Package International Service have a maximum value of $400).


Max Weight (Country limits may be lower)

Global Express Guaranteed® (GXG®)

70 lbs

Priority Mail Express International®

Flat Rate Envelope: 4 lbs
Mailing Box (Priced by Weight): 70 lbs

Priority Mail International®

Flat Rate Envelope: 4 lbs
Flat Rate Box: 20 lbs
Priced by Weight: 70 lbs

First-Class Package International Service®

Up to 4 lbs (64 oz)

First-Class Mail International®

Up to 15.994 oz for a large envelope (flat), documents only

Airmail M-Bags®

Up to 66 lbs (printed material only)

Large envelopes (flats) for First-Class Mail International may not contain goods and must be rectangular, flexible, and uniformly thick, with the following maximum limits: Length 15" x Height 12" x Thickness 3/4", with a max weight of 15.994 oz.

Large envelopes that are bigger than maximum size limits for First-Class Mail International or are rigid or lumpy will be charged the First-Class Package International Service® (small package) price.

Packages: If you're using your own box, you must stick to the following size limits (note that country limits may be lower):

  • First-Class Package International Service: Maximum length is 24”, and combined maximum length + height + thickness is 36"
  • For other international packages, length (the longest side of the package) plus total girth (distance around the thickest part) of your package must be under 108". Learn to Measure Package Girth. (Tip: You don't have to measure your package if you use USPS Flat Rate packaging with the matching USPS Flat Rate service.)

See the International Mail & Shipping Services Page for more details about weight and size limits and other restrictions, limitations (including individual country weight and size limits), and available extra features.

Step 2: Choose an International Shipping Service

USPS offers 6 different services for sending international packages. Some services are only available to certain countries, or for certain types or amounts of contents: Check the Individual Country Listings for info on specific countries.

TIP: Check to see which services you can use based on what you’re sending and where you’re sending it to, then fine-tune your decision based on price, speed, and available features.

Compare USPS International Shipping Services

Fastest Delivery Speed

Fast delivery for your most important mail and packages.

Affordable Options

Value-priced shipping.

Best for Documents or Printed Materials Only

Large envelopes (flats) of only documents or a large sack (up to 66 lbs) of books or other printed material.

Global Express Guaranteed® (GXG®)

Priority Mail Express International®

Priority Mail International®

First-Class Package International Service®

First-Class Mail International®

Airmail M-Bags®

You're sending urgent items that must arrive in a few days. You need date-certain delivery with a money-back guarantee.1

You're sending important items that need to arrive in under a week. You can get a date-certain, postage-refund guarantee for some locations.2

You have a package that weighs over 4 lbs, with options for Flat Rate pricing or pricing by weight.

You have a package (or large envelope) of items worth less than $400 and weighing less than 4 lbs.

You have a large envelope of documents that weighs under 15.994 oz.

You're an international student in the U.S. and need to send lots of books home.

Compare USPS International Shipping Services

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Choosing a USPS International Service depends on how much you want to spend, how quickly you want it to arrive, the country that you’re sending to, what you’re sending (and its size, shape, and weight), and if you need tracking or other special features.

For example, one of our most popular services, First-Class Package International Service, can only be used for items weighing less than 4 lbs (64 oz) and worth less than $400.

Or Global Express Guaranteed, which offers expedited, date-certain delivery, serves certain countries and localities.

See more details and features: Compare USPS International Shipping Services

NOTE: If USPS isn't allowed to accept your international package (for example, it's bigger than USPS maximum size limits), you’ll need to choose another carrier.

International Insurance & Extra Services

You may be able to purchase insurance or other extra services (like Registered Mail®), though not all features are available for all USPS shipping services and countries. See more information in International Insurance & Extra Services.

Step 3: Prepare Your Box

Pick & Pack Your Box

Pack your box to protect your contents and to make sure the box arrives intact.

  • Use a sturdy box with enough room to add cushioning for fragile items and to prevent items from shifting.
  • If you're reusing a box, make sure all old markings, shipping labels, and addresses are completely covered or blacked out.

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  • Write down each item (for reference in Step 6 when you complete the customs form), how much it weighs, and how much it's worth—you'll need this information for your customs form (whether you do it at home using our Customs Form Online tool or at the Post Office).
  • Tape your box so that it closes flat on all sides and reinforce the flaps with 2-inch wide packing tape.

If you'll be using Global Express Guaranteed, Priority Mail Express International, or Priority Mail International Flat Rate services, you can get free shipping supplies, delivered to you for free, to use with those services.

Step 4: Write the Address

Please write the address parallel to the longest side of the package, and make sure the address and postage will fit on the same side.

International address formats are different for each country. You need to write the delivery address in English (if you need to use another language, you have to add the English translation after each line).

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Print your return address and the delivery address clearly, on the same side of the box where you’ll be putting your postage, to help ensure your package is delivered on time.

International Address Format Tips

  • Print addresses neatly in capital letters.
  • Use a pen or permanent marker.
  • Don’t use commas or periods.

Write Sender Address

Write your address in the U.S. (the “return address”) in the top-left corner. Include the following on separate lines:

  • Your full name or company name
  • Apartment or suite number
  • Full street address
  • City, State, and ZIP+4 Code®
  • USA

Write Delivery Address

Generally, you’ll write the delivery address in the center of the label or package (below and to the right of the return address, if possible).

You must write the delivery address in English, though you can include the delivery address in another language (like Russian, Greek, Arabic, Hebrew, Cyrillic, Japanese, or Chinese), if you write the English translation after each line.

Many countries use different address formats (for example, the Postal Code might go before the city). Get specific information about other countries' postal addresses by going to the Universal Postal Union and clicking "Postal Addressing Systems (PAS)."

Generally, include the following on separate lines:

  • Recipient's full name or company name
  • Full street address
  • City, Subdivision (like province, state, county), and Postal Code
  • Country

See the International Mail Manual for more details on addressing.


United Kingdom


NOTE: If you're sending mail to a U.S. territory, U.S. military base, or U.S. embassy in another country (APO/FPO/DPO mail), see How to Send a Package: Domestic.

TIP: Also, write the recipient’s full name and address on a piece of paper and put it inside your package.

How to Address International Mail & Packages

A special note on U.S. military bases and embassies in other countries (APO/FPO/DPO Addresses)

APO/FPO/DPO mail going to U.S. military bases and embassies in other countries is special; you pay domestic prices, you use a different address format, and you’ll have to fill out a customs form.

To prevent mail from entering foreign mail networks, do not include city or country names in APO/FPO/DPO shipping addresses. Make sure you include the unit and box numbers for APO/FPO/DPO shipping addresses (if assigned).

Military Address Examples

Step 5: Calculate & Apply Postage

If you’re going to use stamps or pay for your postage at a Post Office location, you can use the International Postage Calculator to figure out the price of your postage.

You can also use Click-N-Ship service to pay for and print international postage for Global Express Guaranteed, Priority Mail Express International, Priority Mail International, and First-Class Package International Service.

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Make Sure You’re Paying the Correct Postage:

  • Make sure the weight is accurate: Use a kitchen scale or postal scale, or have your package weighed at the post office. Include the weight of everything, including packing materials.
  • Round up on weights: Some USPS products round up to the ounce, while others round up to the pound. For example, if you’re sending a Priority Mail International package that weighs 5 lbs 2 oz, you would round up to the pound and pay the 6 lb-rate.
  • Use the right shipping service: For example, First-Class Package International Service can only be used for packages up to 4 lbs (64 oz) and worth under $400.
  • Check the dimensions. If you’re using your own packaging for Global Express Guaranteed, dimensional weight may apply, so always enter your package’s dimensions in the International Postage Price Calculator to ensure you’re paying enough postage.
  • Use the correct package label. Make sure the label you’re using matches the packaging. (For example, you can only use Priority Mail labels on Priority Mail International packages.)

Calculate an International Postage Price

Add-On Services

If you want insurance, proof of delivery, signature services, or other optional services, you’ll have to pay extra.

Our International Insurance & Extra Services page has more details; some of the more common add-on services for international package include:

  • Insurance: Global Express Guaranteed, Priority Mail Express International, and Priority Mail International services include some insurance coverage, and you can purchase extra coverage up to certain limits.
  • Registered Mail®: Requires that the recipient sign for the mail to confirm delivery (or attempted delivery).
  • Return Receipt: You’ll get a printed or emailed delivery record showing the recipient’s signature.
  • Certificate of Mailing: Proof that you mailed something from a Post Office.

Find more details on International Insurance & Extra Services.

Step 6: Create Your Customs Forms & Labels

You have to fill out a customs form when you send packages to other countries. All customs forms must be computer-generated:

  • If you use Click-N-Ship service to print your own postage, it will print a customs form for you.
  • If you’ll be paying for your postage at the Post Office, you can save time by printing your own customs form at home using our Customs Form Online tool.
  • Otherwise, you can bring your package to the Post Office, fill out Form PS 2976-R, and give it to the USPS retail associate so they can create and print your customs form.

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When you fill out a customs form, you’ll make a list of what you’re sending, including how much each item is worth and its weight. There are also new requirements for providing more-detailed descriptions of contents in packages sent to countries that follow European Union (EU) customs rules. The receiving country may open and inspect your package, so you need to be accurate. You can see more information on our Customs Forms page.

TIP: The only time you don’t need a customs form is when you send nonnegotiable documents (like letters or other papers with no cash value) weighing under 15.994 oz using First-Class Mail International® service.

Reminder: When you send packages to U.S. military bases and embassies outside of the United States, even though you’re paying domestic prices, you'll still need to fill out a customs form. Learn About Military & Diplomatic Mail

Step 7: Send Your International Shipment

Once your package has the correct address, postage, and customs form, how you send it will depend on its size and weight; whether you used stamps or paid for postage online; and if it has a computer-generated customs form.

You can always give your package to a clerk at a Post Office.

In some cases, you can schedule a free package pickup or drop off your package in a blue collection box (restrictions apply).

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When it comes to international packages, what you can put in a blue collection box or Post Office lobby drop is a little more complicated.

You may be able to drop off your international package in a blue box if it meets all the following conditions:

  • Your package has a computer-generated customs form
  • And you paid for the postage online (like using Click-N-Ship)
  • And it weighs less than 10 oz and is less than 1/2" thick

Please see What Can and Cannot be Deposited in a Collection Box®? as well as specific guidance around dropping off mail that requires a customs form.

Otherwise, you’ll need to give your package to an employee at a Post Office location.

Schedule a Package Pickup

Your letter carrier can pick up your international packages if you created the shipping label and customs form online, paid for the postage online, and printed out the shipping label and customs form. The international services eligible for Package Pickup are:

  • Global Express Guaranteed®
  • Priority Mail Express International®
  • Priority Mail International®
  • First-Class Package International Service®

If your package is eligible for Package Pickup service, you can request a pickup during your regular mail delivery for free.

If you want your packages picked up at a specific time, you can pay a fee for Pickup on Demand® service, and the Post Office will pick up your shipment within a scheduled 2-hour period.

Schedule a Pickup

1. Exceptions apply. See Publication 141 for more information. Back ^

2. You can receive date-certain service with a money-back guarantee to select locations. You must pay postage and mail your letter or package at a Post Office location. Browse Individual Country ListBack ^